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David Johansen and Johnny Thunders talk Sex Pistols and Tom Petty in front of CBGB’s, 1976

Johnny Thunders and David Johansen
The New York Dolls essentially came to an end while touring Florida in 1975. A few months prior, the band was on their last legs when future Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren stepped into the picture. McLaren had some insane ideas, such as re-imagining the androgynous Dolls as tongue-in-check Maoists. Drummer Jerry Nolan later recalled McLaren’s vision of “dressing us up in matching red leather suits and playing in front of a giant communist flag. It was so stupid!”

New York Dolls: Better red than dead? (photo by Bob Gruen)
Nolan and guitarist Johnny Thunders quit the band and headed back to New York, forming the Heartbreakers. Their earliest gigs, with original bassist Richard Hell, were at the club that would eventually be known as the ground zero of punk: CBGB’s. As for the Dolls, vocalist David Johansen and guitarist Sylvain Sylvain recruited various musicians over the next couple of years, soldiering on until 1977 when they finally called it a day.
In the footage featured here, Johansen is seen conducting a mock-interview of sorts with Thunders in front of CBGB’s. Likely recorded in the fall of 1976, the two cover a lot of ground in the brief clip. Johansen asks about the Heartbreakers upcoming overseas tour, which turns out to be the ill-fated “Anarchy in the U.K.” tour with the Sex Pistols.
Anarchy tour poster
At the time, Thunders has no idea of the ultimate fate of the outing, in which nineteen shows are scheduled, though all but three are cancelled due to a backlash after the Pistols infamous appearance on Bill Grundy’s television program. Malcolm McLaren organized the tour, and when his name comes up the two have a few sardonic yucks aimed at their former manager (Thunders says he’s “the neatest”). They also talk about how the Heartbreakers might have to change their name, as there’s a new band making the rounds with a similar moniker: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
The Heartbreakers
The Heartbreakers, with Richard Hell, at CBGB’s, 1975 (photo by Chris Stein)
The former band-mates are seen smoking and joking like the old friends they already were at that point. To be honest, I had no idea the pair were even on speaking terms during this period, so it’s nice to see them getting along so well (it’s worth noting that the reconstituted New York Dolls is one subject they don’t broach).

The encounter was shot with photographer Bob Gruen’s video camera and included on the New York Dolls DVD of Gruen footage, Lookin’ Fine On Television.
New York Dolls

Posted by Bart Bealmear | Leave a comment
A New York Doll, Preparation H and Johnny Carson

David Johansen, then at the height of his fame as Buster Poindexter, made a 1988 appearance on The Tonight Show and charmed the shit out of Johnny Carson and the audience.

Johansen was made for this kind of thing. Perfect timing, perfect delivery, a smooth operator. The Robert Goulet story is hilarious and Carson can’t help but burst out laughing even at the expense of one of his regular guests.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Punk Magazine’s ‘The Legend of Nick Detroit’: With Richard Hell, David Johansen & Debbie Harry

This is rather special - pages from John Holmstrom and Legs McNeil’s revolutionary Punk magazine, as held by The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection and the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

These pages come from issue No. 6, which featured The Legend of Nick Detroit, a fumetti or photo-story written and directed by McNeil and edited by Holstrom, with Roberta Bayley as director of photography.

The fictional Nick Detroit was a “...former top international Agent and super-killer now become world-weary mercenary battling the infamous Nazi Dykes and their schemes for world domination.”  The strip starred Richard Hell as Nick Detroit, with David Johansen as Mob King Tony, and Debbie Harry as Debbie Nazi Dyke. There were also appearances by Lenny Kaye, David Byrne, and “a ton of others including Terry Ork, Anya Phillips, and Nancy Spungen (in a crowd scene).”

Check more details here and here.

Best of Punk Magazine is available here.
With thanks to Wendy! Via University Libraries Blog
More from ‘The Legend of Nick Detroit’, after the jump….

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Keith Richards and David Johansen performing together in NYC blues bar Tramps, 1985

Keith Richards’ raunchy and thoroughly entertaining autobiography ‘Life’ is the best rock memoir I’ve read since Dylan’s ‘Chronicles’. Shambling and shameless, ‘Life’ stumbles along like an elegant drunk, feet in the gutter and head in the stars. Lock the doors and hide the children.

I came across this video from 1985 of Keith sitting in with David Johansen (Buster Poindexter) at NYC bar Tramps. For many years Tramps was my second home. Its owner Terry Dunne is a dear friend and former manager of my band The Nails. Back in the 80’s, Tramps was one of the hippest joints in Manhattan and arguably the best blues club in the country. Legends like Big Joe Turner, Lightening Hopkins and Esquerita played its hallowed stage. I played the Joker Poker machine, wired to the gills.

In this truly rare video, Delbert McClinton joins David and Keith. Joe Delia is on keyboards.

The person who uploaded this to Youtube goes by the moniker fxpope. I’m wondering if that’s the same F.X. Pope that directed new wave porn film Nightdreams and The Nails’ first video. Mr. Pope is also known by his birth name Francis Delia, Joe’s brother. Francis, is that you?

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment